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The GI, surrealism and other dissection issues
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject: The GI, surrealism and other dissection issues Reply with quote

While I didn't found the TCTC dissection I did spearhead it and have worked to organize it. I didn't write that to have rose petals and kudos tossed at me, the reason I did is, I guess, to illustrate that I'm a purist on how the dissections are done. I'm not, repeat not, criticising anyone for doing this but I am questioning the use of the Gradual Interview in analysing chapters. I want you to convince me to let down my guard.

I'm sure you would say that we need to use any tool at our disposal to dissect the chapters as throughly as possible. As almost all of you know the SRD Official site was required by his publishers even before Runes was put out, and the Gradual Interview on the site has become a huge success. So, this presents a new phenomenon and, possibly, a new tool for dissecting. My pruist problem is that Dissecting the Land was originally designed for read along input and analysis.

I'm sorry if I'm not being clear, I can barely wake up this morning, I guess I felt the need to discuss it as I felt a little disturbed by someone argueing with SRD's prespective in the GI vs quotes from the book. So do things like that throw us off track, or make the dissection clearer as a general rule? I'm not just talking about the one post but anytime the GI is brought into play for the rest of the series' dissection.

I guess the point is that it was supposed to be us, the Watchers, doing the dissecting, not SRD brought in from another medium...


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I understand what you mean, danlo, and I entirely sympathise with your sentiment.

I'm not sure it's possible to state one categorical definition of what dissection exactly is. I am sure that, reader to reader, their ideas will vary greatly, as all things. (And frustration sets in from discovering the hard way that what seemed obvious to you isn't seen the same by others, again as with all things.) There's what you think you need to do, and what you want to do, and what you have fun doing, and what you think others appreciate, and all kinds of other angles to the matter.

I'm not about to try and state what I think you're definition is. Other than that it is different than mine, I couldn't say.

I can tell you my position on the matter. And that is this: dissecting is exploring. Exploring the universe of the story, exploring the message and the meaning, exploring the style, exploring the characters, and on and on. So, yes, I pull in information from interviews, from the GI, and from anywhere else I can, because it helps me explore these things: they're clues that help me unravel the puzzle.

Just for the sake of example. The discovery that Hile Troy was meant to be a character foil to Covenant helped me to understand his role in the story, why his actions are what they are. Which helps me understand what kind of truth Covenant is seeking, what kind of answer he is finding. And that in turn helps me find a personal meaning to the story, to take away important ideas and perhaps a universal truth about the human condition.

So the question is, should I be satisfied in not examining the story so closely that I don't notice the foil?

And more importantly, if I didn't notice it ... and then I read it in the GI and go "oh, yeah" ... should I be satisfied in not knowing, or should I incorporate the knowledge, re-interpret the story, and perhaps come away better for knowing?

I can't think about the Chronicles without thinking about other things, other stories. I can't consider it in a vacuum. And that includes what I read in the GI. That's me.

And I guess I assume that others are the same.

But isn't the answer like all other things in Kevin's Watch? You can disregard the parts of the dissection that aren't to your taste, and concentrate on the parts that are? You can ignore Wayfriend quoting from the GI, and continue the discussion from some other basis.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see what you're saying wayfriend. We didn't have this "tool" available for the 1st and 2nd Chronicles so maybe I just need to get used to it. Yes having fun is very important too. I, originally, wanted to be an old crab and say if you want discuss the GI do it in any other forum than this.

I think what we have to be careful of is overuse or using it to settle a point. True, everyone dissects differently (that's the beauty) and, of course everyone interperates the Chrons differently. I just don't want anything to happen like at the Tank, e.g., where someone uses the GI to try to prove themselves totally right or start an arguement. To me there simply is no totally right in dissecting.

I noticed at the beginning that The Final Chrons dissection is different than the others and attracts a new breed of dissector-that's why I knew it was important to bring dlb in as a moderator; to hold my hand or smack me in the head when these new angles and tools came into play... Razz
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We did it in the Runes dissection, and it didn't cause a problem.

Danlo, you say this is supposed to be our thoughts and impressions . . . but my impressions and thoughts are filtered through everything I've read, including the GI. I don't see how the author's own words would be irrelevant. I don't see how they can do anything else besides add to the discussion.

Are you worried about an "official" interpretation being argued? Using Donaldson as the ultimate argument-by-authority? I don't think that complaint makes sense, since this "authority" is the man who wrote the very story we're discussing!

Hey, if I have to put up with being told I'm wrong because I don't understand André Breton and surrealism, then surely I can be allowed to argue my point via Donaldson himself. Very Happy

So, in summary, I'm against barring mentions of the GI in the dissection. But if you want to put a limit on the surrealism lectures, I wouldn't complain. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

danlo wrote:
To me there simply is no totally right in dissecting.

I completely agree with you. By all means people should share their opinions. But don't disparage others for having a different one, or set out to prove that someone else is wrong.

That being said, part of the fun and utility of dissection is learning what others say and revising your opinion. So I don't think you can honestly disallow any back and forth on points. "I didn't see it that way, I saw it this way" seems perfectly acceptible and part of the dynamic.

Discussions in the Dissection forum should INDEED be very different from discussions in the Think Tank.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoa whoa whoa here..

A) Surrealism lectures? i guess i deserve that,,and again, i only have to go to Donaldson's parable of the lineage of the Vile creations, and the Kastenessen answer to demonstrate what I'm saying,, I am not saying any body is WRONG.. I am saying,,in dissecting the conflict of the authors words in GI and in FR or any his books,,the conflict may be in the reader,,not in the Authors words. I see the authors words in GI as slightly oblique and obtuse because hes not giving anything away. I see his answers kinda like Esmers answers..Rather than the author Giving answers,,the author is directing us to our own discovery . So right or wrong becomes a subject of Time.

B)From my perspective, what the author has said in GI endorses what I have said in the Dissection,,so I have no problem in including GI " answers" into the dissection. Yet I feel, that the subject being dissected is strong enough to stand alone,,given enough Time.

C)I offer help in this matter. Since GI vs Surreal Lectures seems to be the issue..then , I suppose if I came in with a perspective of,,say a devout Christian or Jew or Moslem,, or uber patriotic American, etc etc..what I am proposing (about the Surreal) would be easier to take because of the ease of..show me the Quote, show me the Passage,,ability of any questioning my perspective. With that in mind,,I offer this following Link. In the upper left hand there is Biography..Click on that and you will find TWO introductions to " Surrealism".One by Mary Ann Caws and the other by Franklin Rosemont. I highly suggest reading these two " Introductions" before anything else...I have read these Introductions many times,,so ,,don't feel bad if you find the need to do so also. Once they are comprehended,, then perhaps , Breton's 1930's lecture,, "What Is Surrealism" can be tackled. Of course this link is just a beginning.

http://www.studiocleo.com/librarie/breton/bretonpage.html

have fun
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless they're wrong.

Kidding, I'm kidding!! Smile
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, there's no way I can separate in my mind what I read in the GI from what I thought about when I read or reread part of the books (or, for that matter, all the things I've learned from the rest of you here). That being said, we should still be careful not to discuss anything he says about events in future chapters; even just things that are overall concepts but haven't been addressed at that point of the book.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the true reason of why Vain needed to be on the Isle of the One Tree is proof enough to me of the need to include the GI in any discussion.
Without it I never would have believed from anyone other than SRD the reason Vain needed to be there.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not in favor of barring the GI at all I simply think it's usage should be discussed. As I've alluded to The Final Chrons dissection as a new beast partly because of the GI. I also believe that many of our new dissectors came through the Official SRD site and are used to incorporating elements of the GI. I'm simply cautious of it's over use and I think that that and things like prolonged surrealism benders and other things should be discussed in this topic.

I'm sorry if I didn't read every single word of the Runes dissection, but, frankly, the references to the GI seemed minimal and didn't really interrupt the flow. I'd advise however (and maybe this is more directed at newcomers) to not rely on the GI the way some posters rely on Google and wikipedia, e.g. (crap I'm beginging to sound like my old high school history and lit teachers who said-never use the encyclopedia and always use more than five sources when writting a termpaper).

Malik wrote:
Are you worried about an "official" interpretation being argued? Using Donaldson as the ultimate argument-by-authority? I don't think that complaint makes sense, since this "authority" is the man who wrote the very story we're discussing!
I don't believe or agree with everything SRD says, even tho I love the guy. Wink

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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm still not clear on your objections.

You yourself said "Dissecting the Land was originally designed for read along input and analysis."

It seems to me that you cannot include "analysis" but exclude references to the GI material at the same time. Analysis is all about going deeper than the surface reaction to the words, finding connections and sorting out common threads. The GI helps here.

I know of one other person who considered GI statements to be "revisions" made after publication, and therefore considered them "impure", as he wished to judge the book on its own merit. I disagreed, as I considered it clarification, not revision.

Is this kind of similar to your objection? That a "pure" analysis considers the book and only the book? In a vacuum, as it were?

BTW: We were still dissecting WGW when the GI came out. So it's had an influence for longer than you seem to think.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no objections, I simply caution over use. I simply would advise thinking for yourself (directed at any dissector) as much as you can instead of always falling back on the GI or past interviews. Rereads of Donaldson's work are always strange anyway-the books change over time and mood, and one discovers new things every time.

I'm just of a different camp, personally, I prefer to spit out my gut reactions to what I'm reading based soley on what the author has put on the page-but that's just me.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 10:06 pm    Post subject: more Reply with quote

Malik wrote:
Are you worried about an "official" interpretation being argued? Using Donaldson as the ultimate argument-by-authority? I don't think that complaint makes sense, since this "authority" is the man who wrote the very story we're discussing!
I don't believe or agree with everything SRD says, even tho I love the guy. Wink[/quote]

Careful..now we are possibly entering a paradox...and in it is Beauty, yes another surreal bender, Big Grin ...if the author's Ultimate..is opened ended,, a non logical ,with no = in it,,as in a+b=c,,,but rather a, a+b+c+d+e ad infinitum then ultimate becomes non sequitor,,authority means " Free"' and argument brings unresolved end,,because there is no end. Seems to me the Kastenessen answer suggests this..this paradox. Its the basic problem of applying " logic" to a non logical phenomena. Its the root of Kiplings, " the east is east and the west is west and never shall the twain meet"..

.I have no problem with quotes from GI being used in dissection, as long as they are within context and complete. It just breaks my heart to witness the effort it takes to make Donaldsons words conform to " Logical Standards". Look at all the discomfort, upsettedness,,displeasure, that applying Logical Standards to TCTC and especially to The Last Chrons and its Time Travel, and consequences , has wrought. What is Logical about Time Travel,,being transported to a " Land" ,,and all its inhabitants? Nothing,,,so why do we stay with applying, using ,, logic.? Esmer puts the same basic proposal to Linden in Difficult Answers.

Fascinating it is,,( if I understand the THOOLAH correctly) the more Linden screws up, in their view,,the more their " dislike" of the character grows,,so in hating her, they become more like her..Such is the paradox of applying Logic,,to a non logical phenomena,,It only escalates to open conflict.

And yes..this is the Fear I believe Donaldson refers to. This the Success or Not that he refers to. Its not an easy task to take the reader to somewhere they haven't been before. The reader has to want to go along. Already, that want, as reflected by THOOLAH and some negative posts concerning Runes and FR,,show to me..not everybody is willing to go along.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As others have said, I can't seperate the GI from my thoughts on the Chronicles either. Like Danlo, there are things that SRD has said about the Chronicles that I disagree with and so I choose to have my own opinion (ie, how Linden got the Covenant's ring in the real world or the history of the Haruchai as told in Gildenfire.) I am an avid follower of the GI and consider it to be a valuable resource.

Have we ever truly had a heated, Tank-like debate in this forum?
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My hope ,,concerning " Heated Debate" is in the opening line of FR, the line i am so gaa gaa about..." In sunshine as vivid as revelation.." ..yes, it may take a bit of heat..but the beauty that is to beheld,,everyone should have.
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
Whoa whoa whoa here..

A) Surrealism lectures? i guess i deserve that,,and again, i only have to go to Donaldson's parable of the lineage of the Vile creations, and the Kastenessen answer to demonstrate what I'm saying,, I am not saying any body is WRONG.. I am saying,,in dissecting the conflict of the authors words in GI and in FR or any his books,,the conflict may be in the reader,,not in the Authors words.
I enjoy your contributions tremendously, and your unique style and perspective. However, I did feel like you were trying to tell me I was wrong due to my ignorance of surrealism . . . which goes directly to the issue here: making the dissection like the Tank. And you still seem to be saying the problems are with me, rather than the author, on an issue that I never saw as a problem or conflict to begin with. As I said in the chapter discussion, I think the problem is merely apparent, and I found a satisfactory resolution--for myself--within the GI.

I've given many "lectures" myself, especially when it comes to existential interpretations of the Chronicles. I've argued my own personal perspective perhaps too strongly. So I can sympathize with the tendency to run with a particular interpretation that "clicks" for you. (And that's why I tried to soften the blow with a smilely. Smile ). However, I do get the feeling that surrealism discussions are starting to dominate this dissection. If that's fine with everyone else, then I'll happily shut up and go on with the points I, alone, wish to make. We're all free to respond to or emphasize whatever we wish.

For what it's worth, your contributions have caused me to explore an area of philosophy and art that I've previously ignored. So, again, I want to stress that I do find your views intellectually stimulating and in many ways enlightening.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, it's like something SRD himself said at some (probably many) points in the GI about the story, his process and how he writes it. (I know, I know, I see the irony of me using a GI comment in a discussion about the use of GI comments on dissections... Smile )

I'm sure I'll flub this up, probably mix comments he's made, but...the gist is that his stories are a reflection of who he is. He cannot separate any element of his life experience from what he writes or how he writes it. He'd be writing a different story only if he were a different person.

I think the same applies to all of us and our analyses in the dissection. Lurch is a Surrealist, or at least heavy into Surrealism, so his comments/analyses come mainly through that filter or lens. I'm an educator who has been influenced by all sorts of 'non-mainstream' thought systems (Sufism, Gurdjieff's Fourth Way, dynamical systems theories, morphogenetic fields theory, Terrence McKenna...), so my understanding and connections to Donaldson's writing is often filtered through those things, or understood better in their context. And I can't divorce myself from those things, wouldn't if I could.

While I see the point of limiting the use of GI responses in the dissection thread, or at least confining it to a meaningful context within the argument being put forth by the analyst at the moment, I don't think they should be banned.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Earthbrah, I agree.

Now, tell us about Sufism and Terrence McKenna. Smile

I've got Archaic Revival, by TM, but the only things I know of Sufism are references by Robert Anton Wilson (if you couldn't tell that already by my alias here).
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's see what SRD has to say about this topic:

In the GI, SRD wrote:
Reader: SRD, what up with people quoting you in Dissecting the Land?

It beats the heck out of me.<rueful smile>
(5/21/2008)



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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never joined or helped with the Dissection forums (no idea why, sorry) but Danlo, are you perhaps concerned that the GI is a "discussion killer"?

In that I can see your point.
I would hope that people would post their own ideas and impressions on the chapter rather then attempting to only post "facts".

Especially since it has been mentioned elsewhere, even by SRD himself that he can be evasive and purposely misleading in the GI (to a small degree).

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